How to Wash a Puppy's Faceby Robert Morello
Puppies need TLC even in the bath.
Puppies get into all sorts of messes and need constant care to stay clean and healthy. The keys to washing sensitive areas like your puppy's face are to create a warm and friendly environment from start to finish and to be as gentle as possible. From avoiding harsh cleansers to using easy motions and a light touch, tailor the experience so your pup remains calm and at ease throughout the process.
Heat the space where you will be bathing your puppy. Cold air can cause a chill when your puppy is wet. If you have a clothes dryer, use it to heat a clean towel so you can wrap your puppy immediately following the cleaning.
Moisten a clean sponge or washcloth with warm, not hot water. Gently wipe away any milk spills, food residue or other light debris from your puppy's face. No soap is necessary for small amounts of dirt, or for materials that are relatively easy to remove. Soap is an irritant that can get in your puppy's eyes, nose and mouth and can even have negative effects on her skin. It's best to avoid it altogether and use only warm water and the abrasive surface of the washrag or sponge to get the job done.
Brush through the matted or dirty hair on your puppy's face if she is a long-haired breed and it is visibly soiled. Use a specially designed metal or hard plastic dog hair brush for this purpose. With clumps and tangles removed, the process of cleaning your puppy's face will be easier and less troubling for the animal.
Pet your puppy with your off hand so she remains calm. Use your good hand to move the damp sponge or washcloth slowly and gently in a circular motion so that it mimics the actions of a mother dog as she cleans her puppy with her tongue. Gradually clean your puppy's face in this manner, rinsing the sponge or washcloth often and always using clean water.
Wrap your puppy in a clean, warm towel. Dry your puppy's face and any other areas that have become wet during the cleaning. Do the best you can to get all the excess moisture out of her hair, then switch to a hairdryer on a low setting to finish the job. Do not let the air from the dryer get hot enough to burn your puppy and aim it near her face instead of directly at it.
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- Only give your puppy a full bath once per month. Shampoos can dry out your dog's skin if you bathe her more often, although there are moisturizing soaps and conditioners that can help the situation.
- If your puppy's face is extremely dirty or greasy and soap is required to remedy the situation, use mineral oil to prevent eye irritations. One drop in each eye should be enough to coat the surface of the eyeball and keep any soap suds or soapy water from doing damage.
- Never leave your pet alone in the bath. Even a small amount of water can be enough to drown a young animal in a slippery tub.